Inheritance Act Claims

An example of a successful inheritance Act claim

Our specialist no win, no fee solicitors are highly experienced in dealing with Inheritance Act claims on a no win, no fee basis. If you have been left facing financial hardship after the death of someone close to you then call our free legal helpline on 0333 888 0407 or send us an email.

We specialise in Inheritance Act claims nationwide, representing people who have not received adequate financial provision when a loved one has passed away.

It is often assumed that when we are free to leave all our worldly goods to whoever we choose. But that isn’t the case in English law. The Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975 will intervene to rectify estate distributions when justice needs to be done.

The Act was introduced to prevent people suffering financial hardship when someone close to them dies without making proper provision. A recent court case serves as a good example of the sort of situation where the law will step in.  The case involved a couple in their nineties, Mr and Mrs W, who had been married for over thirty years. Mr W had always paid all the household bills and financed their holidays. His state pension was paid straight into Mrs W’s bank account.

When Mrs W died, Mr W was shocked to learn that her investments over the years had enabled her to amass a tidy sum of £670,000. He was even more surprised to find out that she had not left any of it to him in her will. Her fortune, which included the family home that was registered in her sole name, had instead been left to Mrs W’s daughter by a previous relationship, with other financial gifts to grandchildren and charities.

A further blow for Mr W was that she had changed her will only a year prior to her death. Under the previous will he would have inherited £50,000 and would have been allowed to stay in the family home until he died; what lawyers call a ‘life interest’. It is believed that Mrs W had gone against her solicitor’s advice in changing the will after her husband became legally blind as she thought he would die before her due to his health.

With just £40,000 in savings and surviving on a state pension Mr W was left homeless as a result of Mrs W’s will. Mr W therefore brought a claim against his late wife’s estate for ‘reasonable financial provision’ under the Inheritance Act. After lengthy negotiations he received a sum of £225,000 in an out-of-court settlement. This enabled Mr W to purchase a house of his own.

So, while you can leave your estate to whoever you wish, the law is on hand to rectify injustices if the outcome is unfair.

Spouses have the strongest claim under the Inheritance Act but there are other categories of claimant including cohabitees, children and financial dependants. When an Inheritance Act claim is brought against an estate the court will weigh up the needs and resources of the claimant with those who benefit under the will (or Intestacy if there is no will). However, as happened in this case, such claims often settle out of court with the costs of all parties being paid from the estate.

If you would like to know more about Inheritance Act claims then please contact us for a free case assessment on 0333 888 0407 or send us an email to [email protected]

Inheritance Act Claims

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